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Fair hope: State 4-H officials encourage youth keep up with projects

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With all of Indiana schools beings closed until at least May 1 due to the need for social distancing and limiting more than 10 people in a room at a time to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Indiana 4-H is encouraging members to not only stay on top of their schoolwork, but also their 4-H projects, as well.

Tony Carrell, who is currently serving as the Purdue University interim assistant director and program leader for Indiana 4-H youth development, said they want youth to first and foremost focus on their schoolwork and getting it done on time.

“Schoolwork is first and foremost, but it is also a great time to work on 4-H projects,” Carrell said.

Even though a lot of 4-H activities are on pause or canceled for the time being, Carrell said that county staff in Purdue Extension offices all over the state are working to come up with activities to keep students educated and involved in 4-H and also to help prevent them from going stir crazy.

“All face-to-face events have been suspended until May 18, and they will resume at this point,” Carrell said.

Carrell said if the situation changes before May 18 and restrictions are lifted, then the state 4-H will act accordingly, but if restrictions become stricter, they will act accordingly, as well.

Carrell said that Indiana 4-H will continue to act with the best benefits and safety of 4-H families, the country and each other by following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“Scheduled events during the suspension period at the state level will be rescheduled,” Carrell said.

As of now, Carrell said that 4-H county fairs and 4-H camps, including 4-H roundup and state junior leader conference that takes place in June, are still being planned.

“Families can still look forward to 4-H camp, junior leader conference and continue to sign up and plan as if they will happen,” said Carrell, adding that as the dates get closer and restrictions are still in place, they will be rescheduled if needed.

Carrell said that county fair season, which in Indiana is largely in June and July, is still going forward as planned.

“We want county fairs to be a time of celebration, when all of this is done,” Carrell said, adding that they want them to not just be a celebration for 4-H members and their families, but also for members of the whole county to enjoy some fun times as a community.

For more information about 4-H events and activities that have been modified due to COVID-19 restrictions or to access at-home learning activities, students can visit https://extension.purdue.edu/4h/Pages/4HHomeActivities.aspx.

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